ARS Technica reports the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted SpaceX a blanket license to deploy up to 1 million user terminals in the US for its Starlink broadband satellite Internet network. The license is good for 15 years. SpaceX founder Elon Musk says the company aims to bring broadband to the hardest-to-reach customers for telcos.
He said getting huge subscriber numbers isn't really the goal as Starlink is not ideal for densely populated areas. Places like LA will be better served by existing broadband services.
One million terminals would only cover a fraction of US homes, but SpaceX isn't necessarily looking to sign up huge portions of the US population. Musk said at the conference that Starlink will likely serve the "3 or 4 percent hardest-to-reach customers for telcos" and "people who simply have no connectivity right now, or the connectivity is really bad." Starlink won't have lots of customers in big cities like LA "because the bandwidth per cell is simply not high enough," he said.
We asked SpaceX today if it might eventually seek authorization for more than 1 million terminals for US customers and will update this article if we get an answer.
So far, SpaceX has launched 362 Starlink satellites. Thousands more are necessary to cover most of the world.